*Edmonton's river valley makes up the longest stretch of connected urban parkland in North America.
*Edmonton has the highest per capita area of parkland of any Canadian city
*the river valley is 22 times larger than New York City's Central Park
*park styles range from fully serviced urban parks to campsitelike facilities with few amenities
*the main "Ribbon of Green" is supplemented by numerous neighborhood parks located throughout the city, to give a total of 27,400 acres of parkland.
*within the 18,000 acres, 16 mi-long river valley park system, there are 11 lakes, 14 ravines, and 22 major parks, and most of the city has accessible bike and walking trail connections.
Okay, so these facts were taken from wikipedia, but you get the picture...
Naturally, there is so much to explore around here. Here are a few things we've done outside:
We parked our car at Kinsmen Park near the base of a pedestrian bridge that crosses the North Saskatchewan River. We crossed the bridge, climbed up one of the many steep staircases to the top of the bank, crossed back over the river on the High Level Bridge, then went down the hill towards our car. We let the kids play at the park before heading back to the car. It was quite a workout! Or maybe it was a workout just for me since I'm so out of shape! Actually, there always seems to be people out and about on these trails. It almost inspires me to get out and get active- wait, I said, almost!
Playgrounds and Spray Parks
There are soooo many playgrounds and spray parks here and we have certainly visited quite a few.
Our family has gone on several hikes near here. The longest one took about an hour and it took us through a ravine near a creek. There were some pretty steep hillsides to climb! It's amazing that there are tons of areas in the city that don't seem at all like they're "in the city." We even got to see a beaver!
I've heard about this from other people, but we've never actually geocached before. Since all we have is time on our hands, we decided to try it out. For those of you who've never heard of it before, geocaching is basically like treasure hunting using a GPS device. You are given the coordinates to where the cache is located, and then you have to use your GPS to guide you there. We looked up 3 caches (treasures) and headed out. Unfortunately, we didn't find the first one. We searched and searched, but never did find it. It would've been easy to quit, but we were so determined to find at least one. So, we headed to the second one. Success! It was very exciting. We found the cache under a rock, opened it, and signed the logbook. There were a few knick knacks in the camo container, but unfortunately, we didn't bring anything to exchange with it, so we didn't get to take anything with us. The kids were disappointed! We decided to go ahead with the last one despite not having anything to trade, and once again, we were able to locate the cache. Two out of three isn't bad for our first outing! Next time we head out, we'll make sure to have something with us to leave behind!
I've been meaning to add this picture to my blog and since this post is about the great outdoors, I figured it related enough to be included here... The picture was taken by a local photographer and it is the best picture I've ever seen of Edmonton. I wish I could get a print of this!!!